Thailand's Dark Side
Amazing Thailand" - so the slogan goes. But while Thailand shines brightly on many fronts – its exuberant capital, mesmerising beaches, bucolic countryside, lip-smacking food – it is mirrored by a dark side, a far cry from the tourism authority's vision of paradise.
During my years living in the Land of Smiles, I heard almost daily tales of horrific motorbike, car, boat and bus accidents, scams and property frauds, drownings and diving incidents, stabbings, suicides and highly-suspicious deaths.
So after three years living in Thailand would I say it’s safe to visit? Yes, for the most part. But I'm not going to sugar-coat it. You should take extra care when visiting the country. Do your research, avoid high-risk activities, never raise your voice to a Thai person (Thais hate confrontation and when they “lose face” often turn to violence) and ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance.
A couple of comments.
The article offers good advice, but I would add, a little courtesy and consideration goes a long way in Thailand, as it would in any destination.
So read up on the things to do and not do, BEFORE you set off.
Like:- NEVER point at a Thai with your feet;
NEVER touch their head;
EVER insult the king;
don't offer things with your left hand (it's your toilet hand);
do not wander into a bank or other officious building dressed in shorts and flip-flops, as they will take it as an insult.
Despite the country seemingly being a place where anything goes, it would be better to think of yourself in Victorian England, where sure enough, the extremes of depravity went on behind many a door, but in public, nothing short of saintly would be acceptable.
That is where Thailand is now. The façade of Victorian sensibilities and prudishness veneering over an undercurrent of unmentionable activity.
It really is that conflicted, the tellers in the bank might easily refuse to serve you because you are wearing shorts, all the while they are fully aware that young women are being raped in the brothel next door.
22 hours ago
The most important thing is not to lose your temper and get angry. The Thais will pretty much forgive you for everything else. Jai yen yen.
Very strongly agree with this article. Many travellers don't realise this until they encounter a problem. Travelling through Thailand and than coming to Koh Phangan made me feel like being in a different country. If you're a bit more sensitive and observant it's not very difficult to see that the islands are run by local mafia families. We also met one Finish expat who had to move out from the island for his and his family's safety. He told me that whenever a murder is committed on any of these islands it is always Burmese workers who are prosecuted and at the end executed. I will also strongly advice anybody travelling to Thailand to avoid these places
I was a journalist for 13 years, in among other places Asia and Latin America. I don't believe anything I read without proof, but there is more than enough proof of the dangers of Thailand, and people like you and johntee, are typical of the know-it-all travelers who think they are immune to trouble, and who put others in danger.
If either of you had any sense at all, you would err on the side of caution instead of rubbishing the warnings of people who actually know what they are talking about.